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A Year or so ago, when I reached a natural stopping point reading Stormlight 2, i started wondering about Alethi society in general, and specifically gender roles in vorinism. (Ohh god, i sound like a judgemental feminist crusader already. It shouldnt be like this, should it?. I assure you that my reasons for pondering this are purely academic.) I send this question as an E-mail to Brandon, but got the "Dear Fan" letter, with a whiff of RAFO. Thus, i am posting it to the community: Vorinism splits skills and occupation into male and female, we call those male and female arts. While fighting and politics are supposed to be male, all writing (except for a small selection of glyphs, which could be argued are more labels and heraldry than real writing) is female. While minor rules like male/female food are being ignored (Shallan ignores it at least once with little hesitation), the bit about writing being female, seems to be observed through all echelons of Alethi society, right up to Dalinar, arguably the most powerful vorin person alive. I cant remember a Veden example either. Kabsal is an ardent, so he doesnt count either, especially since ardents are specifically barred from holding positions of power. At the same time however, virtually ALL military and ( more importantly) political posts are being held by men. The only exception to this are, naturally, scribes and.. what we would call... personal assistants? Alethkar, by all appearances practices agnatic primogeniture. Correct me if i am wrong but The line of succession is presented as: Gavilar, Elohkar, Dalinar and i presume Adolin. Jasnah has never been considered a candidate despite being 8 years his senior, being arguably just as fit a ruler as him (perfect is a word actually used to describe her). [This point is a bit shaky, since she cannot be a warrior, but still]. All the military officers (even the Alethi equivalent of "desk sergeants" i believe) are male, so are all the Highprinces. Aesudan may be considered an exception (as she "manages the kingdom in Ehlokars absence"), however, it is very clear that she is a queen consort, not a queen regnant, and what little we know of her, makes her look more like a early 20th century American socialite than a ruler. Furthermore, to me, Vorinism seems ( not quite as much as Confucianism, but similar) to be more of a philosophy than a religion. Also (unlike with, say, the shin) there seems to be little fear of divine punishment. Shallan doesnt think of her eating male food as sin and breaks that rule in a heartbeat, and covering her safehand is more a matter of modesty and habit than actual fear of reprisal. And not many instances of actual divine intervention are mentioned ( i can only remember Syls disappearance after Kaladin broke his vow - which has little to do with the issue here.) Yet written communication is not a small matter for ruling a country as advanced as Alethkar, or commanding Alethkars prized military, or gathering intelligence. This means that every powerful vorin man must completely entrust his scribes with all kinds of sensitive information ( intelligence reports, military orders, royal decrees, tax and census data etc etc) without being able to verify them. That strikes me as highly dangerous in an environment like the Alethi court and war council, to say the least. The books do comment on that problem: In one train of thought, Dalinar himself doubts the honesty of his scribes, and people di try to fill scribe positions with family members and wives/daughters of loyal retainers, but still, this paradox is jarring: Imagine being in a position of power while all your information is essentially hearsay. Even if Alethi use seals (and similar devices) to verify documents, their contents are still subject to dishonest scribes who read them aloud. Instead of an elaborate forgery, all it takes is one bribed scribe. So it is really hard to imagine that at least some shrewd Highprinces ( lets say Sadeas or Sabariel) havent secretly learned how to read and write. [ If Alethi has an alphabet, this is relatively easy. If however, Alethi consists of logograms (like Chinese), this will take considerably more effort, so that would be an argument against it. Knowing Brandons habit of dipping into Asian culture, this isnt unlikely. ] I apologize for this long post, but i d like people with more knowledge of the books ( and more guilt-free leisure time) give me their opinions on this. Or maybe i just overlooked something in the books, and all that was one big inane exercise.